The best and the worst 2014 had to offer.
Most recently I went to see “Interstellar”, the latest Christopher Nolan featuring Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey. That this film is hard to understand and you need to have certain degree in chemistry or physics to understand the film, is bullshit. It's not the nicest word I use but it certain gives away how stupid those people who started that rumor are. The film has a pretty linear storyline, with no time paradox at all to break your brains on. Ok there is a a little time “trick” going on in the film, but that's it. First of all let me assure you that the film, even with it's two hours and 49 minutes, is never too long. Secondly don't listen to those Rotten tomatoes or IMDB critics who for some unknown reason, only find pleasure in bashing enjoyable flicks and praising those that are boring to death.
Christopher Nolan already has a good list of movies on his filmography, that are always or almost always pleasant to watch. Insomnia, Memento, Some Batman flicks and of course inception. Inception is without doubt the less interesting flick, but still even that one was quite promising. Interstellar can easily be added to his list of great titles. Don't let yourself be fooled those so called critics who claim this film is not so interesting, as this one is a very good sci-fi flick that combines many of the great sci-fi themes I really love. But if there is a minor point in the complete film, it will be without doubt the robots. These are so crappy and so completely unbelievable at times that it really started to frustrate me. “Interstellar” could be described as a mixture of American heroism, a love story and classic sci-fi. The story starts in the near future in a world with a lot of suffering. Civilizations have gone back a couple of decades and farming has become the major occupation in the world. Still some people know the old skills and know how to release some modern techniques into a world that has almost forgotten everything. NASA, has gone underground, but is still secretly active and working on an idea to find a new home for the human race. For me it was worth every penny I paid for it and every second I spent on it.
“Europa report” originates from Spain and is thus by all means not to be compared with the above mentioned films when we start talking about production values and so on, but story wise it has something of both in it and what's even more it has a couple of alien monsters as well. The plot is about a space mission to Europa (on the jupiter's moons). If there is one place in our solar system that might be able to hold life, Europe has the biggest chance of being that place. A group of six goes out to that small moon and set out an expedition to find life. Nothing is of course as expected and while the scientists do find extraterrestrial life, it's not what they had hoped for. Within the boundaries of the scifi film, this movie is indeed something worthwhile to seek out. It has had no Belgian release thus an import or illegal copy might be your only solution, yet for once I would not really care about it, since nobody took an interest in releasing this one properly.
On the total other spectrum of sci-fi you'll find “Her” a drama/love interest film about a man who falls in love with his computer. It's not so hard to imagine I suppose. Her is by all means sci-fi, but it has nothing to do with the sci-fi I described above. No outer space missions, no black holes or time slips, but a love-gone-mad film set in the near future that deals with social relationships and it's difficulties. The film itself failed somewhat if you ask me simply because of it's length. Halfway I started loosing interest in the characters and although the cast really tries to do whatever they can to save the film, it wasn't really worth sitting through. But I really thought I should include it in my final list as it is Sci-fi as well.
More Sci-fi was found on the Cannes film festival this year, but mind you not all sci-fi is good as I mentioned before. Amongst the many mediocre sci-fi flicks that where thrown at me, I'll also found the totally un-interesting science fiction film …. “engelse film over UFO”. Set in the UK this found footage film about UFO hunters is so a pile of crap that you simply can't imagine how bad it is. Boring is a much to nice a word to use for this film.
But there is more than Scifi. “Cold in July” is such an incredible film that you have to check out for sure if can. Jim Micklle is back and how ? This is an intense, super flick starting out as a simple home invasion flick, going into revenge flick area and ending in true gangster style. The many disguises of the film is the reason why you want to see the film in the first place, but also the story line and the acting (Don Johnson is back) needs to be mentioned as part of the excellent experience. In the same line of excellence but never as good you'll find “The Drop” and “Gone Girl”. Especially the first one is worth mentioning. Totally different but nicely done and never boring at all is “The Physician” from Phillipe Stolz, starring Ben Kingsley and Stellan Skargard. A very good fantasy film about a young man who travels the world to become a good physician after he lost too many family members without being able to help them. Not the kind of fantasy of “The Hobbit” or “Games of Thrones”, but more in the vain of a good fairy tale. Try to find that one as well if you can.
My list could go on with many more titles, but I have limited space. Yet I can't ignore these, even if I can only mention the title, films from the past year. “Alleluia”, “When Animals Dream”, “What We do in the Shadows” and “Der Samurai”
2014 and television
We've gotten used to seeing superheroes on the silver screen but only this year did they really make a breakthrough on television. There's “Constantine”, “The Flash” and the much anticipated “Gotham”. Sure we already had “Arrow” first still hesitant to really enter the arena of super heroes but instead sticking to the vigilante angle fighting only slightly out of the ordinary criminals. But over the years it evolved into a series regularly featuring super heroes although still cautious with superpowers. It's after this evolution “The Flash” was developed and it profited greatly from “Arrow” paving the way. In “The Flash” super powered heroes mostly work during the day and the difference between Keystone and Central City is also an issue in their team up. Yes there's a team up how much more like comics can a television show get. But although visually brighter there is also a darker edge to it as he searches for his mothers killer. And no matter how bright the episode the epilogue is almost always surprisingly dark. Definitively the best new comer it still wasn't able to push “Arrow” from its top spot as it consistently gets better and better. Sure the bar wasn't set too high in the beginning but anyone having seen the opening episode of this season and the mid season finale will agree (or not) that this has evolved into the best super hero series ever. Which isn't so hard as there have only been a few. The only competition would have been “The Hulk”.
The second place goes to “The Flash” and the third goes to “Constantine” who hasn't been able to be convincing yet but it shows some potential still if it can break away from the standards set before with “Supernatural”. The biggest disappointment was “Gotham” much hyped but what a let down.
What a disappointment:
Well 2014 held a few disappointments with raging conflicts world wide both new and old. That might put what comes next in some perspective. But only slightly because the biggest disappointment of the year was the easiest to decide on. And the winner is "Godzilla". Yes some of you might have liked it and I won't damn you for it, well not publicly anyway. But this one was a really bad "Godzilla" movie and not just because it was boooooooooooooring. Not even because for a movie called Godzilla, our beloved villain/hero gets only minimal screen time. No my prime complaint is that they took a franchise and completely remove the soul of what that franchise is.
In the original franchise Godzilla is created by nuclear weapons testing and as such it's a cautionary tale. Because in Gareth Edwards' Godzilla nuclear testings were covert operations to kill Godzilla. In an interview in Screem magazine Gareth Edwards says “this wouldn't be a Godzilla movie if we didn't have a nuclear theme at the heart of it” and “facing this question of the power of nature in terms of nuclear power. It sometimes comes back to bite us”.
Look there's a lot one can say about the Godzilla franchise one thing one can't claim is that they are overly complicated. Its' not nuclear power as a force of nature that is of concern it's the abuse of such power through nuclear testing and using it for energy knowing it isn't really safe. But mostly the former. Hollywood is big business as is the weapons industry and the nuclear platform. You don't have to believe in conspiracy theories to come to unsavory conclusions here.
Don't just skip this one burn it because it's boring, stupid, badly acted, badly scripted, soulless and you don't have to see it for the 3D either because the only thing reminding you this thing is in 3D is that you have glasses on while watching it. Want to check out what Godzilla really is all about watch "Godzilla 1984".
Item added : 1/1/2014